Originally Posted by sammi jo
If NK (or rather lunatic Kim and his crazy government) is a genuine security threat to the region (as opposed to a bit of testosterone-induced bluster with the odd nuke test and missile launch), then perhaps the nations in that region should deal with it.
They are. By defensive treaty with the US or by being the NK supporter (China).
Perhaps they should organize their own coalition of the willing, issue a "disarm or else" ultimatum, and go to war if as a last resort.
Not possible for anyone but China.
If we lay off this time around, maybe we may gain a little bit of respect and regain some friendships (perhaps even make some, yikes what a concept), after the last 8 years debacle. But maybe we're so addicted to conflict that the powers-that-be won't be able to resist another fight.
Yes, we will make new friends by leaving our current friends (SK and Japan) out to dry.
The current course is the correct one. Defend our allies and put pressure on NK politically to stop being a pain in the ass.
We have one powerful chip that neither the US or China is willing to use yet. Taiwan. China knows that we'll trade peaceful unification of Taiwan for them dealing with NK. But politically and socially the island isn't quite ready for peaceful unification and forced unification is just bad for everyone involved.
So China lets NK become even more of a pain in the ass to make this payout seem all the more worthwhile. But don't believe for a second that they wouldn't trade NK for SK as a partner in a heartbeat. Heck if Korea was unified under SK it would be better for China given that we'd have a lot less pretext to be in Asia anymore and they'd have a country that going to be nice to them if they helped at a peaceful unification.
Kim Jong Il isn't stupid either. He knows that eventually China will throw him under the bus despite his current amusement factor for Beijing. But he knows he's screwed because the only way to change that equation is to modernize his economy and ideology more toward what China has become. Except he can't and won't.
Obama has played this fairly well so far I think. Not overreacting. No concessions. Mild military response (ooh, we raised the alert level). He's treating Il as a kid throwing a tantrum and letting Beijing know that we don't intend to jump up and down for their entertainment.